Garden Decorating on a Budget

Inexpensive decorating fun for gardeners can be as simple as running over to the closest Pier 1 and getting a pair of these candle lanterns at less than $5 each. Not the right color? A can of spray paint will fix that.

You never know what useful or pretty things you may come across in an import store that can be used in the garden.: Boxes, baskets, and affordable glass hurricane lamps that can be used with candles to light a path, or filled with fruit or flowers to create a centerpiece for an outdoor table.

Huge floor pillows and a variety of throw pillows, great for rejuvenating your porch furniture or adding a smidge of luxury, are all being offered during August clearance sales.

Check out the bed and bath stores for dorm specials on items like budget-priced throw rugs that can be used on the porch, and end-of-season specials on shatter-proof dishware, outdoor candles, napkins and placemats, etc. Dollar stores are also a good source for paper and party goods.

Odd-lot and closeout discount stores are catch-as-catch-can, but I actually got a pair of elegant 18-inch tall Polish lead crystal candleholders for less than $20 at Tuesday Morning’s. They have bargains on cache pots, birdhouses, ornamental ironware, and other garden goodies.

Garden centers are running end-of-season sales on many plants and accessories. Always check out the garden ornaments damaged goods section for slightly broken items, or those with missing pieces that can be repurposed. For example, a bust with a missing base, or a broken or cracked pot, can be partially buried in a flower bed so that it looks as if it has always been there.

And sometimes, you can get something for nothing. Once I visited a concrete ornament factory and found a perfectly aged bunny with a patina of lichen. “Oh my goodness, I can’t let you buy that,” the owner said, “It’s from our junk pile!” Once I convinced her that it actually was what I wanted, she simply gave it to me.

Happy hunting.

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